Tuesday, August 16, 2011

14-year-old daughter hears mom plead for life before being shot (Dayton, Ohio)

Another stellar daddy who not only murdered the mother of his children, but did so in front of the traumatized 14-year-old daughter. This time the daddy is KEITH A. WILSON.  Notice how this woman's case was completely bungled by the police. Domestic violence murders don't "just happen." They are very often the product of systematic ineptitude--like this one.  


14-year-old hears mom plead for life before being shot

Marny Wilson’s death cited as an example of rising domestic abuse.
One of Marny Wilson's daughters, LaKeisha, 18, describes where she saw her mother shot in the neck on Sunday, Aug. 7.

By Mary McCarty and Tom Beyerlein

Staff Writers
Updated 10:20 PM Saturday, August 13, 2011

Marny Wilson called out to her 14-year-old daughter, “Mar’Kei, call 911.”

Marny was arguing on a cell phone with her estranged husband as she moved her belongings from the family home. As they spoke, witnesses said, he drove up to the house, and he had a gun.

Mar’Kei said she heard her mother pleading for her life: “No! Please, no!”

Then she heard two gunshots.

“My mama’s dead!” Mar’Kei screamed in a hysterical call to 911. “My dad just shot my mom.”

“Is she breathing?” the dispatcher asked.

“She’s dead!”

Medics arrived in minutes, Mar’Kei recalled, but added, “Mama didn’t make it to the ambulance.”

Marny Lynn Wilson, 40, a fraud investigator for the Ohio Department of Insurance, wedding photographer, school volleyball coach and mother of five, was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck last Sunday, Aug. 7, as she sat in her red Mazda 6 outside her former home at 825 Audrey Place near the intersection of Philadelphia and Salem avenues.

Her husband of 17 years and biological father of four of the children, Keith A. Wilson, 44, is in the Montgomery County Jail in lieu of a $3 million cash bond on charges of murder and felonious assault.

Keith Wilson was arrested Monday in Indianapolis, where police say he was hiding out with family members.

The case is set for a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Dayton Municipal Court .

Marny’s four daughters, ages 14 to 21, spoke extensively with the Dayton Daily News last week with the permission of Marny’s mother, Birtette Sanders, who wanted to tell the family’s story. Sanders has now lost two of her four children to murder.

The Wilson daughters — the couple’s 12-year-old son wasn’t interviewed — painted a picture of a troubled family at the breaking point.

The children said that after years of living with her husband’s meanness, boozing and infidelity, Marny Wilson filed for divorce in May and was living with three of the children at her mother’s home in West Dayton.

The killing happened as Marny was moving her belongings out of the marital home, where her husband was staying with one of their children.

“My first reaction was, ‘Not again,’” said Patti Schwartztrauber, executive director of the Artemis Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence.

Reports of domestic violence are on the rise. In Dayton alone, there were 1.575 domestic violence reports in 2010, and an average of 1,775 annually over the past decade, a Dayton Daily News analysis shows. Carol Hinton, CEO of YWCA Dayton, said the number of women seeking help locally has increased consistently about 12 percent every year. The YWCA’s domestic violence hotline fielded 8,283 calls during the first half of this year, compared with 7,000 for the same period last year.

Marny Wilson’s death was one of three high-profile area domestic violence cases in the last month that ended in tragedy. On July 16, Kylen English, of Dayton, was arrested after attempting to kick in the door of the home where his 16-year-old girlfriend was being sheltered by her aunt. English, 20, jumped to his death from the Salem Avenue bridge while in police custody. On Aug. 3, Amanda Borsos, 17, of Mason, was fatally shot by 18-year-old Troy Penn, identified as her former boyfriend, who then took his own life.

“Sad as it is, this is what we deal with,” said Dayton police Lt. Michael Wilhelm. “Over the years you see hundreds of them. Hundreds of them threaten to do it and once in a while, someone does it. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating because there’s really nothing we can do to stop it. If they’re set on (killing), there’s really nothing we can do unless we’re lucky enough to be there.”

Protection orders

Marny Wilson had taken steps to protect herself: She obtained two protection orders against her husband in the weeks before her shooting, but Keith Wilson evaded more than a dozen attempts by police and sheriff’s deputies to serve him with the paperwork, court records show. Wilson, a bus driver for Trotwood-Madison City Schools, reportedly fled on foot when plainclothes officers tried to serve him with the papers at work.

Because Wilson had not been served, the orders weren’t enforceable.

Nearly seven hours before the 4:40 p.m. shooting, Marny called the Montgomery County Dispatch Center to report that her husband had removed fireplace doors from the home, which is owned by her mother. She told the dispatcher: “I don’t know if he’ll come back, and he does have a gun.”

An officer responded to the home. The dispatcher’s text message to the officer, however, included no mention of a gun, Willhelm said. And neither the responding officer, Daniel Reynolds, nor a Sinclair College student who was job-shadowing him that day recall Marny saying anything about a gun when the officer spoke with her at the house at about 10:15 that morning. Officer Reynolds searched for Keith Wilson that morning, but couldn’t find him, Wilhelm said.

Capt. Rob Streck, of the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center, confirmed that the dispatcher didn’t pass along the information about the gun. “The call evaluator made that decision based on the tone of the call and the fact that the subject was gone,” he said. “She took the call mainly as a theft.”

Streck said the dispatcher acted properly: “She did what she was trained to do and sent a crew immediately.” He thinks, however, that lessons can be learned from the tragedy and that it may be used as an example in dispatcher training. “I talked to the call evaluator and told her that any time you hear about a gun, a red flag should be going off,” Streck said. “This case will be a perfect review of how these cases should be handled.”

LaKeisha, 18, and Mar’Kei said they heard Marny ask Reynolds if police could be present while she moved her things out. They said the officer told her it wouldn’t be possible for police to be there all day. Wilhelm said neither Reynolds nor the job shadow remember her making that request, and Reynolds’ report doesn’t mention it. Wilhelm said Dayton police do offer protection during move-outs, but only so families can quickly obtain such essentials as clothing. He said it would be “unrealistic” for police to spend an entire day guarding a family on moving day.

Schwartztrauber said the Artemis Center recommends that clients ask for police protection while moving out with their belongings. That’s particularly important with a man like Wilson, she said, because of his efforts to avoid getting served. “That makes him dangerous,” she said.

After listening to Marny’s initial 911 call, however, Schwartztrauber said she understood why the dispatcher didn’t think it was a domestic violence call.

“It was a theft call,” Schwartztrauber said. “She didn’t sound really agitated about it.”

Wilhelm said the officer “didn’t feel ... that something imminent was going to happen.” He said the police didn’t offer to take her to a domestic violence shelter because “it appears she had a place to stay,” with her mother.

Victim advocates point out that domestic violence shelters aren’t just for homeless women, but for any woman who doesn’t feel safe in her home.

“Research has shown that the most dangerous time is when you’re ending a marriage,” said Kathy Lind, clinical manager of the YWCA shelter. “When you call 911, it’s because you have no other choice, and that’s your only lifeline.”

In Marny’s case, the recommendation of a shelter may not have saved her. Her family said she wouldn’t have gone.

“That was not an option,” said LaMica, Marny’s oldest daughter. “She’s strong-minded. She was gonna do what she was gonna do.”

Lost brother

Marny Sanders — the only daughter among Birtette Sanders’ four children — was an effervescent student who played basketball, volleyball and softball during her high school years at Colonel White and Belmont, where she graduated in 1989.

“She was into everything,” her mother recalled. “She wanted to go to college, but then LaMica was born and it was just one baby after another.”

Motherhood was hardly the end of her ambitions, however, as the young mother never stopped working to support her family. She met Keith Wilson when both were working for a company in Moraine. She was pregnant with LaKeisha, their first child together, when she and Wilson married in 1994.

Tragedy struck the Sanders family seven years later. In June 2001 Marny’s younger brother, 29-year-old Jerome Marcus Sanders, was shot to death outside Dayton’s Majestic Lounge.

“I really haven’t wrapped my arms around it,” Birtette Sanders said about losing a second child to murder. “Marny never got over her brother’s death. They grew up together, and they were like two peas in a pod. To this day, Marny couldn’t drive up Third Street past the site of the Majestic.”

Troubled family life

Keith and Marny moved to the house at 825 Audrey Place, in the Dayton View Triangle neighborhood, about six years ago. The couple had poor credit and past financial difficulties, so Marny’s mother bought the house.

But “they paid the mortgage,” Sanders said.

“No, my mom did,” LaMica corrected.

To advance her career and earn more for the family, Sanders said, Marny took a job seven years ago with the Ohio Department of Insurance, commuting daily to Columbus. “She was never once late,” Sanders said.

The girls painted a contrasting portrait of their father, describing him as angry and abusive, and said he was often out partying while Marny stayed home.

LaKeisha said Keith Wilson sometimes beat her and then forced her to wear a jacket or long sleeves to cover up the scratches and bruises. “One time I had a scratch on my cheek and he made me say that the dog jumped on me,” she said.

Mar’Kei said Wilson was very different at home than he was in his job as a school bus driver: “My friends would always say, ‘Your dad is so nice.’ I would tell them, ‘I have to go home with him. He’s not so nice at home.’”

Wilson adopted LaMica when she was a baby. LaMica said she was forbidden to contact her biological father: “He (Wilson) threatened to throw me out of the house when I sneaked around and called him.”

LaMica is now a college senior attending Ohio State University on a full academic scholarship. “I don’t know who was proudest — her mother or me,” Sanders recalled of the day LaMica received the scholarship offer.

When she was a teenager, LaMica said, she told her mother she never wanted to get married.

“Your relationship isn’t going to be anything like this,” she said her mother told her.

LaMica said she is now in a happy relationship. “Keith taught me what I didn’t want,” she said.

According to court records, Marny signed divorce papers in March, then backed away. ”His mom had died and she didn’t want to throw that on him,” LaMica said. “She wanted to be supportive.”

She eventually filed the divorce papers in May, then sought temporary protection orders in June and again in July. In a June 24 application, she accused her husband of telephone harassment. On a July 22 application, she wrote that Wilson “has threatened violence with a gun.”

“That would say to me that things were escalating,” Schwartztrauber said. “That’s a warning sign.”

‘Feels like a dream’

Mar’Kei Wilson saw her father several times on the day her mother was gunned down before her eyes.

“He drove by several times making faces at me and flicking me off,” she said. “He told me, ‘Mar’Kei, lose my number. I don’t want nothing to do with you.’”

Mar’Kei said she heard her mother tell her father. “Don’t take my stuff,” during a 10-minute cell phone argument just before the shooting. Her mother was worried, Mar’Kei said, that Wilson would use a spare set of keys to drive off in the 2009 Mazda 6 she had recently purchased.

“I see you, Keith,” Marny said to her estranged husband. “Don’t take my car!”

Wilson, who had arrived at the home with his brother Darryl, pointed a gun at an upstairs window, Mar’Kei said, where her sister KaCey, 16, and brother Kobe, 12, were watching.

At some point, Marny Wilson got in her car.

“Mar’Kei, call 911.”

Her last words: “No! Please, no!”

Mar’Kei said she saw her father shoot her mother in the neck, get into his car where his brother — her uncle — had been sitting and leave.

LaKeisha, returning from the house next to her grandmother’s, where the family was planning to live, said she passed her father pulling out of Aubrey Place onto Philadelphia Avenue.

She said that when she saw the lights on in her mother’s car, she thought, “Yes! We’re finally ready to leave.”

“We had been there all day,” she said.

The girls’ 12-year-old brother rushed out of the house, LaKeisha said; he was shouting, “Daddy shot Mommy!”

LaKeisha, who just graduated from Trotwood-Madison High School this spring, opened the passenger door and saw her mother’s body slumped across the driver’s seat.

She tried to revive her.

“I was pressing on her stomach and everything and saying, ‘Mommy, Mommy!’ I saw blood on her neck, and then I saw a hole in her neck. I’m still shocked. This really feels like a dream.”

Hinton, the YWCA shelter director, said the shooting has multiple victims.

“It breaks my heart,” she said. “I can’t imagine seeing your father killing your mother. You’re truly an orphan to have both parents taken from you in that way.”

The girls said they don’t know if they’ll ever be able to forgive their father.

“This is something he did in our faces and it was my mom,” LaKeisha said.

Marny Wilson’s funeral is at 11 a.m. Monday at the House of Wheat Funeral Home in Dayton. She’ll be buried alongside her slain brother in Woodland Cemetery.

“Marny was the world to me,” Sanders said.

The girls said they will miss the way their mother tolerated their corny jokes, the way she tried to master their teen slang. They’ll miss the way she cheered for them at their games, the way she woke them in the morning with the greeting, “Hello, gorgeous!”

LaMica, in a nod to her mother’s work ethic, vowed to finish summer school, despite the shock of her loss. “I was raised to be responsible, and I will use that now in helping with my younger siblings,” LaMica said.

A week after telling a 911 operator, “My dad just shot my mom.” Mar’Kei has a message for the community.

“Don’t play with guns,” she said. “It’s not making you stronger. It’s making you weak.”

Staff writers Ken McCall and Doug Page contributed to this report.